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Former Brown County employee accused of stealing thousands from stolen tech sales

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 11:10 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:36 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A former Brown County tech employee has been charged with theft and misconduct after allegedly purchasing technology equipment with county funds and selling it to a private company.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News charges Kevin Raye with seven counts of theft and one count of misconduct.

“I believe I’m an honorable person, like I said, this doesn’t reflect the nature of who I am. I would never harm Brown County. My goal was always working hard for Brown County,” Raye said in court on Friday.

Raye is alleged to have sold over $600,000 in devices and parts purchased using county funds. A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News states Raye admitted to using the money on personal purchases and playing the stock markets.

In July, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about a “potential embezzlement case” in the county’s technology services department. Various Cisco wireless devices shipped to Brown County had turned up at a college in Texas.

Investigators were told Kevin Raye had “vast and immediate control over these types of products.”

“As of now, the estimated amount that we’re talking about is north of $600,000 since 2014,” Brown County Assistant District Attorney Caleb Saunders said. “As I mentioned, it’s still ongoing and the loss to the county maybe higher than that figure.”

A Cisco Certified Fraud examiner tracked down emails that showed an order placed with Cisco for 28 Wireless Access Points for Brown County. They were shipped to the county on Nov. 11 and received on Nov. 14. The order was sent to the attention of Kevin Raye.

Eighteen of the units, which have serial numbers, were sent to a broker in Minnesota, who sold them to a college in Texas in March of 2020.

The fraud investigator continued to look into the case and found “the above documented activity has been occurring for quite some time,” according to the complaint.

“Product shipments of this same product identification had shown up with different end users in the United States after having been sent and received by Brown County,” reads the complaint.

Investigators identified shipments from April 25, 2019; January 29, 2019; July 7, 2018; May 4, 2018; and January 29, 2018. Products from these shipments were found all over the U.S.

Brown County Sheriff’s Office investigators contacted the county’s finance department and found Wireless Access Port orders dating back to 2013. The search found 826 items associated to WAPs purchased by the county for $571,035.

Investigators looked at purchase orders and cross referenced invoices with a list of serialized units that had ended up outside of Brown County.

“They were able to correlate all but two of the serial numbers to serial numbers of product paid for by Brown County. The two numbers unable to be correlated were later determined to be part of another unit and were not received separately by Brown County,” reads the complaint.

The Sheriff’s Office traced the WAP purchases to Rhino Technology Group in Minnesota. The company said they had been receiving this equipment for years from a business called K&R Consulting. The contact at K&R Consulting was identified as Kevin Raye, according to to the complaint.

Investigators subpoenaed records from Rhino and found purchases from March 24, 2014 to June 5, 2020 from K&R Consulting. The amount was $638,207.

Here’s how it breaks down by year:

2014 - $51,135

2015 - $95,430

2016 - $69,205

2017 - $119,900

2018 - $147,387

2019 - $110,350

2020 - $45,800

On Oct. 14, 2020, investigators interviewed Raye at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. Raye admitted to selling the WAPs under the name of K&R Computer Consulting, according to the complaint.

Raye stated he used the money to purchase a John Deere Tractor, gold and silver coins, and to play the stock market. He was booked into the Brown County Jail.

Action 2 News reached out to the county for a statement. They say Raye is no longer employed by the county.

“Brown County Administration was made aware of a potential issue in the Technology Services department and contacted law enforcement. Kevin Raye, an Enterprise Network and Infrastructure Manager, is no longer employed by Brown County. He was arrested yesterday, and charges were referred to the DA’s office. This is an ongoing investigation. Any further questions should be directed to the DA’s office." - Technology Services Department.

INITIAL REPORT

A former Brown County employee has been booked on charges of theft and misconduct in office.

Kevin Raye is facing two counts of Class F felony Theft-Movable Property - Fraud, one count of Theft-Movable Property -Larceny, and one count of Misconduct.

Wisconsin statute states Class F Theft felonies are charged when “the value of the property exceeds $100,000.”

Raye was arrested Wednesday and booked into Brown County Jail.

Action 2 News reached out to the county for a statement. They say Raye is no longer employed by the county.

“Brown County Administration was made aware of a potential issue in the Technology Services department and contacted law enforcement. Kevin Raye, an Enterprise Network and Infrastructure Manager, is no longer employed by Brown County. He was arrested yesterday, and charges were referred to the DA’s office. This is an ongoing investigation. Any further questions should be directed to the DA’s office." - Technology Services Department.

Official charges have yet to be filed. Action 2 News will update this story when we get a criminal complaint.

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